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Sorrel at Victorian Art Centre
Sorrel at Victorian Art Centre
On stage
Dressing up

Victorian Arts Centre Tour

Thursday, August 22, 2002
This is the backstage tour of the largest performing arts centre in Australia.

Sitting in a theatre watching a live production certainly gives off a kind of magic. As Anthony Newley said, "the roar of the greasepaint — the smell of the crowd".

And if you have ever hankered to know what goes on to prepare the ballerinas, singers and actors before the curtain goes up, then you can experience it all at the Victorian Arts Centre.

There are hundreds of productions there each year, meaning while taking part in this fantastic tour of the premises, you could come across rehearsals for any number of entertainments.

An experienced guide will steer you through areas which have been visited by New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Pavarotti, ABBA, kd lang, Bananas in Pyjamas and Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance.

The Arts Centre theatres can accommodate more than 6000 people at one time. The centre has three theatres all up — The State, The Playhouse and Fairfax Studio.

Backstage is the hub of the theatre and here you will see the dressing rooms of the stars, workshops, loading bays, theatre stages and rehearsal rooms. On this tour you will also be let in on some of the intricate technical aspects of staging.

Your guide talks about the architecture which is necessary for a well-functioning theatre, the type of theatre it is and the sorts of performances it is designed for.

Once on the empty stage, it will be explained where the stage manager sits and how the fly tower works. Soaring 24m above the stage, the tower holds hanging scenery, curtains, chandeliers — even a piano. The State Theatre's computerised flying system was the first of its kind and visitors are shown how it all works.

All three stages lead to a loading dock which runs the entire length of the building. It has a 25 tonne hydraulic lift in the centre and this can carry a semi-trailer complete with tray. Costumes, sets and props for a performance arrive by these means with the truck driven onto the dock and raised or lowered to the required stage level.

The 70 dressing rooms are noisy places of performers and dressers, hairstylists and make-up artists with pre-performance butterflies. Only principle performers have private rooms and extra privileges. Pianists have pianos provided backstage and conductors have a grand piano, sofa and shower in theirs.

One dressing room is set up for the tours, and guests love to pop on beautiful My Fair Lady-style hats or Phantom of the Opera masks.

There are male and female wardrobe rooms in the theatres building and at any time there can be rows and rows of costumes, sometimes spilling out into corridors. During performances, clothes are washed or dry-cleaned daily and visitors learn this and many other interesting points about the industry.


St Kilda Rd, in the city of Melbourne.


The Victorian Arts Centre tour costs $13.50 per person for 1½ hours. They run on Sundays at 12.15pm. Children under 12 are not permitted.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Contact Ticketek for tours
Ph: 1300 136 166
Fax: (03) 9645 7770

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